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The past two weeks have just flown by so fast! I had some time off work and it has been so blissful. Last Wednesday was extra special as it was the very beautiful and brilliant Kine’s birthday. We were discussing what kind of cake to make for Kine, and Jason suggested making Kine a fish cake. Makes sense as fish is the national food of Norway, right? right??? I’m sure Kine and everyone was relieved that there was no hint of fishiness in the cake at all. Although this has now got me thinking about what Heston Blumenthal might do if he was given this opportunity…

We had cake with Kine the Sunday before her birthday with the team, and the girls had dinner on Wednesday. It was lovely to celebrate twice with Kine and I’m looking forward to many more celebrations!

Strawberry Cupcakes with Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
Adapted from here
 
75g butter, softened
150g sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla sugar, or 1 tsp vanilla extract
150g cake flour
1 tsp baking powder
85ml milk
120g strawberry puree + 1/4 cup coarsely chopped strawberries
 
Line one standard 12-cup cupcake pan with paper liners; set aside. Sift cake flour and baking powder into a bowl.
 
In another bowl, combine the strawberry puree and milk together. Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in the egg and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk/puree. Fold in the chopped strawberries.
 
Divide the batter evenly among the prepared cups so that each is about two-thirds full. Bake in a preheated oven of 170C, rotating the pans halfway through, until the cupcakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 5 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan and cool completely on wire racks.
 
Strawberry Swiss Meringue Buttercream
5 large egg whites
190g sugar
210g butter, softened
100g strawberries, finely chopped
 
Place sugar and egg whites in a heat proof bowl. Set bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, and whisk constantly until sugar has dissolved and egg whites are hot to the touch. The mixture between your fingers should feel completely smooth when rubbed between fingers. Remove bowl from heat. Using an electric mixer, beat on high speed until mixture has formed stiff and glossy peaks. Add the butter, one cube at a time, and beat until incorporated after each addition. Don’t worry if the buttercream appears to curdle; it will become smooth again with continued beating. Add chopped strawberries and beat until just combined.
 
Note: Make strawberry puree by hulling the strawberries and roughly chopping them up. Sprinkle a little sugar on the strawberries. Put in a food processor or a blender and pulse until smooth. Strain with a fine sieve and store in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week.
 
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